Some of the most successful people struggle with keeping their personal lives organized. In the workplace, there is a clear hierarchy, clear lines of authority and accountability and clear expectations. In your personal life, these constructs often don’t exist, making it difficult or awkward to ask for help.
However, when you’re so busy with work, life and family, it’s critical that you find a way to ask for (and get) help so that you can ensure that important tasks get done in your personal life. But there’s definitely an art to it. Here’s what we suggest.
First, develop an organizational system. Part of the problem in managing our personal lives is simply not tackling our to-do’s in the same way we would for our jobs. Prioritize organization in your personal life, and you’ll be surprised how much more smoothly things run. We like Evernote for organizing tasks, due dates and responsible parties. It’s easy to use, available on all your devices and you can include other members of your household (spouse, children, grandparents, etc.) so that everyone is on the same page.
After you’ve organized your to-dos, identify the areas where you need help. Make a note of all the tasks in your personal life that you struggle to complete on a daily or weekly basis. Is it with transporting kids to their activities? Picking up groceries? Cleaning the house? Doing the laundry? These days, services exist for nearly every task you can imagine, so don’t limit yourself when making the list. When the list is done, go through it and identify the tasks that you enjoy doing and then those that you don’t. Start delegating the latter!
Now that you know the tasks and functions that you’d like to outsource, get to work on building a team. You may be able to lean on a family member or friend for some help.
Because asking for help from someone you know can feel a little awkward, treat it as you would in the business setting.
Be clear on what you need and what your expectations are. Insist on compensating whoever is helping you, as this is (1) appropriate when someone is giving you their time and (2) helps formalize the “work” relationship to ensure that the duties are taken seriously.
If family and friends aren’t options for you (or if you just don’t want to go there!), ask around in your network, or look to services like TaskRabbit or Care.com to identify potential helpers. TaskRabbit allows users to post whatever job they need done, and the offered compensation and then TaskRabbits apply or bid for the job. Care.com is great if you’re looking for help with the children, or perhaps an elderly parent.
If all else fails, post an ad on Facebook or Kijiji
Once you’ve assembled your team, automate as much as you can. The last thing you want is for your helpers to continuously contact you with questions about the outsourced tasks. Give them autonomy – with some parameters – so that they know what issues do and do not need to be escalated to your attention. Put your support system on auto-pilot and enjoy your newfound free time!